Monday, August 30, 2010

Book #18: The Wedding Girl

The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham

Ok, I admit it - I'm a sucker for any Madeleine Wickham (whose pen name is Sophie Kinsella) novel. I love them all, no matter how cheesy they might be. They always offer a peek into what I feel like is the quintessential British life (although I may be totally, completely wrong).

This book centers around a girl named Milly who, when she was 18, married her gay American friend Alan so he could stay in the country. Ten years later, engaged to the son of a famous billionaire, she finds that her secret is definitely going to come out (no pun intended).

I'm not sure how she does it, but Wickham always manages to make the ditziest characters in the world (and almost all her female characters are pretty airhead-ish) extremely likable and hilarious.

Ah, chick lit - always meant to be read in the bathtub, while you're getting a pedicure, or eating something fattening.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book #17: The Strain

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

I love a good vampire story - emphasis on the word good.

My mom actually gave this book to me after she read it (I get my love of all things spooky from her), and when I looked at the cover I realized that the co-author, Guillermo Del Toro, is the director of the fantastically creepy "Pan's Labryinth," and what is quite possibly the most terrifying movie I've ever seen, "The Devil's Backbone."

This book reads just like a blockbuster Hollywood movie, in the best way possible. In a twist on the classic vampire tale, in this plot, if a person is bitten by these vampires, they are actually infected with a virus that takes their bodies and minds over and then they in turn begin biting people, etc. Before you know it, the whole neighborhood, city, country, world...all infected. I was reminded of the Stephen King classic, The Stand, several times throughout a lot of the book.

I hope it becomes a movie. If it does, I'll wear a turtleneck to go see it. Got to protect the old neck, you know...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Overcome by the spirit...or whooping cough?

Last Sunday, our contemporary worship pastor, Jeremy, asked me to sing a song with him just before our lead pastor came to deliver the sermon. It was a very worshipful song - slow and meant to ready the congregation for the message.

Everything was going great until the second verse. When I swallowed the wrong way.

I immediately began to inwardly panic, because along with being slow and meaningful, this song has no breaks between verses and choruses. As in, no time to cough or clear my throat.

And I really had to cough - the big, hacking, "is she dying?" kind of coughing fit. My eyes started filling with tears, and I'm sure I flushed all over.

So instead of coughing, I started trying to sneak as many swallows in as possible to try and force my spasming windpipe to behave:

"Oh, to know (swallow) the joy (swallow) of Your risen life (swallow swallow) and to kn(swallow)ow You in (swallow) Your suff(swallow)ering..."

Yeah. Not my best effort. But I made it through the rest of the song without losing a lung on stage, and hobbled back to my seat with an aura of shame.

After the service, I pulled Jeremy aside and said "I am SO sorry. I got choked!" He looked me in the eyes with compassion, and placed his hand on my shoulder. "Amanda," he said solemnly, "I know. It's such an emotional song. I've gotten choked up on that song, too."

It took me a moment to catch his drift, but I barked out a laugh and said "No, no...CHOKED...not choked UP. I swallowed the wrong way!"

Jeremy was silent for a moment, and then he let out a huge hooting laugh. "I totally thought you had been 'overcome by the Spirit' or something!"

Nope. Just saliva.

On my way to Sunday School, no less than three people stopped to tell me how moved they were by my obvious emotional connection to the song.

I just nodded and said "Yes, it really does move you, doesn't it?"

I wonder if Chris Tomlin ever lies like that...

Yep. Probably not.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Double rainbow all the way!

I'm sure by now everybody's seen this.

The first time I watched it, I have to admit - I cried laughing. And the second time. And the third...

But I really wish I had a video of my friend Lea Anne watching this for the first time. She literally fell onto the floor laughing when he sputtered out "...What does this MEAN?"

So. Thank you, Double Rainbow Guy. All the way. Across the sky.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"War of My Life" by John Mayer

John Mayer may be a total jerk in reality, but you have to admit - he writes some pretty awesome music.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Book #16: Thunderstruck

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

I love nonfiction books that read like novels, and this one does just that. Larson weaves in the story of the inventor of the wireless telegraph, Marconi, with the notorious and horrifying (yet strangely sympathetic) early twentieth century murderer Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen and his lover, Ethel Le Neve. Crippen almost committed the perfect murder, but because wireless telegraphy had come along just years before, was captured as his "getaway" ship arrived in Quebec.

Larson also weaves in vignettes about notable events occurring at the same time (the publication of Peter Pan, the search for Jack the Ripper, etc.), making this book hard to put down.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I went to the beach with some friends this past weekend, and came home with this, my second tattoo:

I. Love. It.

Of course, now I actually have to do more writing, or I'm just living a lie. Right?